A couple years back, I published a piece in Scientia Salon, “Back to Square One: Toward a Post-intentional Future,” that challenged the intentional realist to warrant their theoretical interpretations of the human. What is the nature of the data that drives their intentional accounts? What kind of metacognitive capacity can they bring to bear?
I asked these questions precisely because they cannot be answered. The intentionalist has next to no clue as to the nature, let alone the provenance, of their data, and even less inkling as to the metacognitive resources at their disposal. They have theories, of course, but it is the proliferation of theories that is precisely the problem. Make no mistake: the failure of their project, their consistent inability to formulate their explananda, let alone provide any decisive explanations, is the primary reason why cognitive science devolves so quickly into philosophy. …
To professional arguers, history looks dialectical, but —
Bakker summarizes his arguments (they’re good):
The first is a straightforward pessimistic induction. Historically, science tends to replace intentional explanations of natural phenomena with functional explanations. Since humans are a natural phenomena we can presume, all things being equal, that science will continue in the same vein, that intentional phenomena are simply the last of the ancient delusions soon to be debunked. Of course, it seems pretty clear that all things are not equal, that humans, that consciousness in particular, is decidedly not one more natural phenomena among others.
The second involves what might be called ‘Cognitive Closure FAPP.’ This argument turns on the established fact that humans are out and out stupid, that the only thing that makes us seem smart is that our nearest competitors are still sniffing each other’s asses to say hello. In the humanities in particular, we seem to forget that science is an accomplishment, and a slow and painful one at that. The corollary of this, of course, is that humans are chronic bullshitters. I’m still astounded at how after decades of rhetoric regarding critical thinking, despite millennia of suffering our own stupidity, despite pretty much everything you see on the evening news, our culture has managed to suppress the bare fact of our cognitive shortcomings, let alone consider it any sustained fashion.
Intelligence is not something humans have, but something they very occasionally catch a hazy glimpse of.
Kieran Daly embarks on an exploration of supreme philosophical significance:
There are two common positions applied to Pyrrhonism that are frequently asserted throughout the literature, one conflatory and the other denigrative. The conflatory position is that Pyrrhonism is primarily psychological or practical in nature (Annas and Barnes 1985; Hankinson 1999; Perrin 2010; Machuca 2012; Trisokkas 2012). Whereas the denigrative position asserts that Pyrrhonism is impossible for people to practice and naturally unlivable (Johnson 1978; Burnyeat 1980; Vogt 2010; Comesaña 2012; Wieland 2012; Eichhorn 2014). The former position is often posited under the auspices of defending Pyrrhonism, while the latter operates obviously for the purpose of its dismissal. The present paper attempts to show that while each position is misguided, the former possibly does more dogmatic harm than the other, and the latter is extremely suggestive of the conclusion that Pyrrhonism has no-thing to do with life at all.
This initial precaution is a gateway of inestimable importance.